A father and son from Freemansburg accused of harassing the family of a sex offender are headed to Northampton County Court on their respective criminal charges.
James Forte Sr. and James Forte Jr., who both live in 200 block of Juniata Street in the borough, had their preliminary hearings Tuesday in front of District Judge Nicholas Englesson.
Following testimony from the victim and a borough police officer, Englesson sent all the charges to county court, where the pair now face possible trial.
Defense attorney Anthony Rybak, who represented Forte Sr., said his client had been willing to plead guilty to a summary count of harassment, in exchange for the stalking charge to be dropped. After the hearing, Rybak said the father’s case will be going to trial.
Forte Jr.’s attorney, Robert Eyer, declined to comment.
Borough police said Forte Sr. printed news articles about George Hess and placed them on vehicles and in mailboxes around the neighborhood. Hess, a former Freemansburg fire chief, pleaded guilty in 1999 to indecent assault, and was sentenced to county prison.
Freemansburg Officer Martin Ramirez testified Forte was in the borough police station to deal with a citation over dog poop, when he “boasted” he had researched leaving the articles. When an officer told Forte Sr. it would create more problems, Forte Sr. yelled there was nothing the police could do and he was going to keep doing it, Ramirez said.
In a separate incident, Forte Sr. is accused of yelling at Hess’ daughter that her father was a “kiddie toucher.”